Mitchell Starc's team boss responds amid $4.4m furore around Aussie cricket star in IPL

The Aussie quick has come under pressure after he broke the IPL auction record.

Aussie quick Mitchell Starc has received the backing of team mentor Gautum Ghambir and the Kolkata Knight Riders CEO after the fast bowler has struggled to justify his $4.4 million price tag in the IPL. Starc has come under fire for his bowling in the IPL this year after he was bought for a staggering amount at the cricket auction ahead of the tournament.

Other than one innings where he took 3-28, Starc has been expensive with his latest three-over spell going for 1-55. Fans have become frustrated with the Aussie quick who has been one of the most devastating white-ball bowlers for Australia across the last decade. Unfortunately, his wicket-taking brilliance hasn't carried over into the IPL this season.

Aussie quick Mitchell Starc (pictured) has received the backing of the Kolkata Knight Riders CEO after the franchise has come under fire after his purchase for $4.4 million in the IPL. (Getty Images)
Aussie quick Mitchell Starc (pictured) has received the backing of the Kolkata Knight Riders CEO after the franchise has come under fire after his purchase for $4.4 million in the IPL. (Getty Images)

The stats don't make pretty reading for the Aussie after his first seven games. Starc has taken just six wickets and conceded 287 runs off 25 overs at an economy rate of 11.48. The tournament is halfway through and despite Starc not firing, the Knight Riders sit in second place.

This year marks the first time Starc has played in the IPL in nine seasons. In previous years he has opted to use the IPL window as an opportunity to spend more time at home with wife Alyssa Healy, who is also a successful international cricketer. But with the T20 World Cup coming up in June, Starc was encouraged by Cricket Australia to end his IPL hiatus.

Mitchell Starc and Alyssa Healy.
Mitchell Starc has previously opted against playing in the IPL to spend more time at home with wife Alyssa Healy.

Despite his battles, team mentor Ghambir had come out and defended the Aussie quick. The Indian great backed the fast-bowler to find his feet as the tournament got going. "I know what impact Starc can have. In fact, I am sure he will have an impact soon," Gambhir said three games ago.

Despite Ghambir's words, Starc has since struggled to justify his price tag. And Knight Riders CEO Venky Mysore has now jumped to his defence and claimed the Aussie brings a whole new dynamic to the franchise.

"He's a superstar and quality player," Mysore said on Monday. "We don't think of it from an investment standpoint, because you go to the auction and things happen in the auction, which is not in the hands of the player, nor is it in the hands of anybody else.

"We just felt that an addition to the team like Mitchell Starc would add a lot of value, which it has. I mean, his presence itself in the lineup adds a different dynamic to the team and there were specific skills that the support staff were looking for. So, we think we had that."

There were talks the Knight Riders needed a bowler at the death ahead of the 2024 IPL campaign. And while the Aussie hasn't been at his best, Starc delivered in their last match in the last few overs. In their last game, KKR's narrow victory came after they made 6-222 batting first in Kolkata, with Shreyas Iyer (50 off 36 balls) building on Phil Salt's explosive 14-ball 48. Another Aussie Cameron Green took 2-35 in his four overs, including Iyer's wicket.


Starc's latest underwhelming spell with the ball started off badly when he began with a wide and conceded 14 runs in the second over of f RCB's innings. Starc's third legal ball was belted over wide long-on by Virat Kohli (18), while Faf du Plessis (7) also hit the Aussie to the boundary in an expensive over.

Despite a poor opening spell, Starc redeemed himself on the penultimate ball after taking a brilliant return catch to remove Sharma for 20, stooping low to snaffle the attempted drive from the batter. Starc's finally delivery was good enough that Lockie Ferguson could only scramble a single and the Knight Riders survived to win by the solitary run.

Mitchell Starc bowls.
Mitchell Starc (pictured) has struggled in his return to the IPL so far in 2024.

While Starc is searching for form, fellow Aussie Marcus Stoinis found his rhythm. The allrounder smashed 124 not out off 63 balls as Lucknow Super Giants chased down Chennai Super Kings' total of 210 in the final over on Tuesday.

The Aussie all-rounder blasted six sixes and 13 fours for his first century in the IPL in nine seasons. It marked his second-highest score in T20 cricket - only behind an extraordinary 147 not out for Melbourne Stars against the Sydney Sixers in January 2020.